My Hero Academia Episode 4

MHA0401

“Start Line”

Simulcast on Funimation every Sunday

All the prospective UA students face the practical examination course, and Deku has to find out if he’s able to handle his new powers.

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Zigg’s thoughts

This episode is tough to grade objectively because it’s intensely variable. There are some really great moments here but they’re scattered through a narrative which is functional but somewhat limited, and which we all know the ultimate outcome to already. Up to this point I’ve praised My Hero Academia for staying fresh and interesting despite the fact that it’s relied on rather cliched plots and scenarios. That does become an issue here though, and the result is the first episode of the show that drags a little. It’s not a disaster but it is something of a comedown from the high standard that we’ve seen before.

The biggest problem here is that the entire episode is building up to one moment we know will happen, and it does indeed happen pretty much exactly as we expect. The exam as SECRET TEST OF CHARACTER™ is a cliche as old as time, not just in anime but in pretty much all forms of school story, and it desperately needed a twist to enliven it and defy our expectations. As it is, the entire thing is…fine, I guess, but it’s definitely not the triumphant, punch the air moment that the story seems to want to sell it as. The pacing isn’t helped by the overly long amount of recapping at the start, and in general there’s an awful lot of talking about things rather than doing them this episode. It’s not up to egregious light novel standards but it’s noticeably a little overdone compared to earlier episodes.

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Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to enjoy in this episode, not least Deku’s stupendous first moment of heroism, rendered with all the pizzazz and flair the animators can muster. It’s a genuinely exciting moment and also serves to set up an important further step in the evolution of his character, namely his inability to use his power at full force without grossly injuring himself. The art does a pretty great job on the grossly part too, all sickening limp limbs and impossible angles. It’s an important whiplash to the high of the robot punch and a good way to ensure even though he’s theoretically got all the power in the world, Deku still has a lot of work to do before he can really reach his potential. It’s great to see Ochaco get involved too, and a really solid step for the writing to acknowledge that she saved him almost to the level he saved her. if you’re going to run the damsel-in-distress routine this is about the best way you can make it worthwhile for her as well.

In the end, the episode does achieve its aim of a truly rousing finishing moment, complete with the absolute essential scene of Deku crying his eyes out. The slight lumpiness of this segment makes me wonder how well the writing will cope with the more strictly established rigors of a school-based story, but I’ve still got faith in the likability of these characters and the solidity of the premise to be intrigued by what’s due up next week.

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Random Observations

  • Firing laser beams from your crotch seems like a pretty great superpower to have.
  • Isn’t All Might being an admissions judge and also coaching a student for admission a pretty blatant conflict of interest?
  • On the other hand, one of the other judges is literally a giant mouse so who knows?
  • Speaking of All Might, his video appearance at the end is fantastic. Aside from his incredible suit there’s a delightful ditziness to his speech which plays into some of the slightly more out there characteristics we’ve seen from him in his ‘hero’ form.
  • Though Deku now has the ‘One for All’ Quirk it seems All Might has not lost it either. Could there be more of them out there?
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2 thoughts on “My Hero Academia Episode 4

  1. I’ll wholly admit that while My Hero Academia is probably my favorite shonen in recent memory, it totally follows the YuYu Hakusho school of thought; focusing on excellent execution of fairly generic concepts and being buoyed by really likeable characters. There are definitely some fun and novel bits coming down the line though.

    Also, Deku’s mom is going to make this year’s deliberations for 2016 Anime Mom of the Year a real heated contest.

  2. Great episode. Saw “the moment” coming from a mile away but loved it regardless. Really like the fact his body took a horrendous pounding as a result of using his power and the studio for not holding back on the flapping legs and arm. ja!

    Isn’t All Might being an admissions judge and also coaching a student for admission a pretty blatant conflict of interest?
    -Dude it’s a story about a super hero kid and society. Who cares =P

    Though Deku now has the ‘One for All’ Quirk it seems All Might has not lost it either. Could there be more of them out there?
    -Doubt most people would just eat hair, but it’s a valid point. As someone mentioned, where is all mights arch-enemy?!?1

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